Sunday, February 08, 2009


It's coincidental, but this week, the week of Valentine's Day, I’m reading about how to love myself. I have self-esteem issues like most people, and I am trying to learn self-acceptance which does not depend on outside judgments and circumstances. Ed used to preach that, common opinion to the contrary, we as a society follow the Golden Rule very well - to love others as we love ourselves. Ed said, “We treat others exactly as we treat ourselves - because we don’t love ourselves and don’t love others, either.”

In my reading, I came across this paragraph by Dilia De La Altragacia:

Loving ourselves is based on learning about ourselves, and that involves embarking on a path of self-discovery! We must learn our likes and dislikes. We must learn what gives us vitality and a sense of fulfillment, what makes us happy, what activities or emotions drain us, what we do for hours that energizes us. Who are the people that truly nourish us? When do we feel good about ourselves? When are we at our best? What are the activities that drain us and debilitate us? What are the activities that make us feel refreshed and alive?

....Self-love is not dependent on having husbands, or wives, or how well they are treating us. Self-love is not dependent on our children or how well they are behaving or how they are doing in school. Self-love is not dependent on our families or friends, their kindness, or lack of it, or their behaviors toward us. Self-love is not based on how well we are doing at home, work, or any other of our communities. Self-love is not dependent on our relationships, nor conditional on external events, nor based on any special talents or feelings...

When Ed became sober in 1984, he suddenly looked at himself and the world with new eyes. He had hated himself and abused himself for so long that it was strange (to him and me both) to see a self-respect and self-love form in his being. It can be hard to believe that God loves us unconditionally, it can be harder still for us to love others unconditionally, but the hardest thing of all, I think, is to love ourselves unconditionally. The older I get, the more I admire people who have grasped this difficult concept. I am always amazed when I see someone with the ability of true self-acceptance, an acceptance not altered by other people or other external sources, whether from their families or from Madison Avenue. What an achievement!

On February 26, it will have been 4 years since I started this blog. In the ensuing journey from February 26, 2005, I have learned a lot about myself and my priorities. The more I learn, the more I see the lessons which I have yet to learn. I am still in an ongoing process of learning to love myself, to accept myself as a whole unit of the good, the bad, and everything in between. We have to be able to take care of ourselves if we want to be able to take care of others. And if we feel worthy of receiving love (especially from ourselves), it will make that task a lot easier.


MissEllen said...

Amen! I agree with all of that. I wasted most of my teens and 20's hating too many things about myself.(Which is waaay too much self-contemplation, IMO). Finding God meant finding peace and love for myself and everyone else at the same time.

My husband understands this well, as he, too, used to be an alcoholic. With God's help he has been sober for more than 10 years.

Carol Tiffin James said...

Congratulations to you and your husband!